Can Ravens avoid losing record heading into bye?

Can Ravens avoid losing record heading into bye?
October 20, 2013, 7:00 am
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Ravens' rookies are learning about rivalry with Steelers


GAME DAY EARLY BIRD: Waking up with the Ravens as they prepare to face the Steelers this afternoon. Two-minute topic: Will the Ravens (3-3) enter their bye week with a winning or losing record?

PITTSBURGH – Sunday’s Steelers-Ravens game is pivotal for both teams, for a variety of reasons.

The Steelers (1-4) are fighting just to stay relevant in the playoff picture. The Ravens want to avoid their third loss in four games. If the Ravens lose Sunday, they will take bad vibes into next week’s bye, and begin November in unprecedented territory under John Harbaugh. In Harbaugh’s previous five seasons, the Ravens never started November under .500.

They were 3-3 in both 2008 and 2009, but they never fell to 3-4. In 2008, the Ravens won three straight to reach 6-3, and finished 11-5. In 2009, the Ravens took a 3-3 record into their bye, won the following week, and salvaged a 9-7 record that was good enough to earn a wild card spot.

Last season, the Ravens also had their bye in Week 8, but they were 5-2 after seven games. This season has been a struggle, particular on offense, where the running game has been abysmal. Often when the Ravens and Steelers meet, it’s a battle between two NFL heavyweights, fighting for first place in the division. Not this time. The Ravens may yet become a force in the AFC later this season. But right now, the defending Super Bowl champs would settle for a 4-3 record heading into the bye.

Morning thought: “I don’t think records are as important in this game, from an intensity standpoint. If nothing else, I think it heightens it. There’s a certain sense of urgency based on the position that the team is in.” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, talking about being 1-4 heading into today’s game against the Ravens.

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